Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Remembering Brandon

Today is my cousin Brandon's birthday. We were born only 3 weeks apart. We did a lot of things togther growning up; shared similar senses of humor, etc. He would have been 49 years old today...would have been expect for the fact that 30 years ago, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Brandon and some friends had gone to the lake for a day of boating, skiing, etc.Toward the middle of the day, they pulled into a dock to use the restroom. While Brandon and friends had been on the water, another group of friends were having their own kind fun at the lake, driving through the various camping areas, vandalizing the property by, among other things, shooting a rifle at pretty much anything that didn't move. While Brandon was in the restroom, the three drove through the dock area, stopped at the restroom and fired six rounds into the building...Brandon was hit five times. Staggering out of the restroom, he fell and died as the group drove off.

After some time, investigators determined the identities of the "vandals" (aka "killers") and arrested them on charges of manslaughter. It was later determined during the investigation that only one person was the shooter. The other two plea-bargained in exchange for their testimonies against the shooter. The shooter--whose father just happened to be an attorney--was able to get the evidence and testimonies thrown out on a technicality. He also claimed his son suffered from mental illness. None of the three vandals served a single day.

Brandon would have been 49 years old today. Happy Birthday, Brandon. I miss you.


Seth McBee said...

that's tough brother...I'll pray for you today during this time...

Mike Ratliff said...

The unfairness of life can really drive us to despair. The shooter, if he hasn't found forgiveness from God, will be judged for his crime. Not that that helps you with our sorrow. I do know that you must not let this injustice drive you to hate or anger unto sin.

I was in the blast zone when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Federal Building in OKC. I carried a deep anger and resentment over that for over 10 years that drove a wedge between me and God. It wasn't until I gave it to God and forgave Mr. McVeigh that I was able to move forward with God with the restoration that has brought me to a place of humility and utter dependence upon God's grace to walk before Him as His servant.

My prayers go out to you brother.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

Keith said...

Mike and Seth:
Thanks, brothers, for the prayers. I thought about my aunt all day (Brandon's mom) and how this event effected her. For me, I don't hate the "shooter"--got over that years ago. I pray that wherever he is, that somehow, God has pierced his heart and driven him to his knees in repentence.

It is frustrating to see how the world's system of justice fails on so many levels. God's justice will prevail in the end. Until then, I put my trust in His faithfulness and mercy toward me, a sinner saved by grace.

Thanks again fellows for the encouraging words (and your blogs that have recently been added to my "favorites" toolbar.